Earlier in the week, Jesse had been invited to a friend’s birthday party. When I saw where the party was – Skinner Butte Park – I started hoping it was not too far away. The last party he’d been invited to was too far and we didn’t go because I have a penchant for getting lost and I didn’t want to get lost all the way out there. (One time I was looking for a place in Springfield and ended up in Goshen.) But this was not too far; it was actually on the way to my doctor’s office, so I decided we’ll go.
All the same, however, I had A LOT of work to do in the house today. Not writing work; just getting this house in order. I’m planning on getting some things done with this house over the summer, so of course I wanted to get started this weekend. And it was a lot to do. I was planning to spend the day doing it. But Jesse had a party to get to. I thought about asking my husband to take him instead, even though he’s not really friends with the mom and doesn’t know her that well. Another part of me kept saying, Go. Have fun. The work will be here when you come back. Go and see them and have some cake.
So, I decided to go! And I prayed I wouldn’t get lost.
Well, it was not my tendency to get lost that made us get lost, after all. It was a twisted street sign! Of course I could not see the broken street sign, so of course I passed the street I had to turn onto. At some point, I thought, it can’t be out this far. So I turned around and came back. On the way back I could read that broken street sign, so I swung back around and got back on the right course.
If only our problems ended there!
Yes, we DID find the park, but I have never been there until today, and I never knew how immensely GINORMOUS it is. Seriously! It. Is. Huge. Google Maps just showed a small stretch of grassy land and the Willamette River. We found that grassy land and we found the river, so I figured they were around there somewhere, right?
Jesse and I walked back and forth over that area and could NOT find his friend or his mom. We really looked all over. We even went through the property of the neighboring senior center, thinking they were right around the corner.
But they weren’t. They weren’t anywhere. I was getting, hot, tired, sweaty and worn out from all that walking and running. My foot was hurting and I was dying of thirst. (I couldn’t find a water fountain.) In between all of this, I occasionally texted hubby and updated him about what was going on.
That stopped when Jesse took off on another path. I hurriedly put my phone away and chased after him. (He was convinced we would find his friend if only we kept looking.) As I ran along one area of the park, across the grass to a path, I noticed a line of bicyclists going along the path. Oh, it’s a parade, I thought, looking for a way to get through so I could find Jesse. I nearly did a double take when I got closer and looked at them again. That ain’t no parade. These bicyclists were NAKED! Obviously, it was one of those “naked bike ride” protests things I have read about. As I walked in the opposite direction of the cyclists, trying NOT to notice anything, I couldn’t help but notice SOME things. Some of the girls had their breasts painted red. Some girls wore bras and panties. Some guys wore underwear; one guy even wore a cloth over his lap. But most of them were buck naked. And they had huge smiles on their faces too as they passed me by.
Oh. My. God.
I looked away, trying to act like I didn’t notice ANYTHING after that.
Then I had to look again, because I caught sight of a red shirt on the other side of the cyclists. Jesse! He was standing still, wide eyed, watching all these naked people pass by on their bikes.
I found a way across their path and called out his name. He snapped out of his stare then looked at me as he ran over saying, “Mommy, I was looking all over for you.”
Sure, you were, I thought, taking his hand. I was mad at these stupid cyclists! I wanted to scream at the girls, “Shame on you for showing my 5-year-old son your boobs!!!”
I decided we weren’t going to find his friend’s birthday party after all and said we had to go. Jesse was disappointed but didn’t say anything as we retreated to the car. Even so, I circled the lot a few times, looking around for them. No luck. But instead of going home, I noticed the road seemed different in the other direction so I decided to drive along it to see what was there.
More of Skinner Butte Park was there! I said it was ginormous; it really is ginormous! There was MORE of it up the road. In fact, we finally came to the playground area and I thought, This has to be it! So I parked there and we climbed out. Sure enough, Jesse’s friend was having his birthday party there.
We finally found them. I apologized to the mom for being so late and explained why. She said she was sorry but I told her not to worry about it.
I texted hubby to let him know we found the people we were looking for. It was a nice get-together and we were happy to see our friends. On the way home, I couldn’t help but think that we had quite a bit of an adventure today. And we got to see Skinner Butte Park. It’s beautiful and I’d love to go there again sometime. I do enjoy being around water; the lake, river, ocean. The view of the Willamette River is breathtaking and I was glad I got to see it. At least now we knew what to expect with Skinner Butte Park! I only hope next time, it won’t involve naked bicyclists.